At our homeschooling co-op this past week it was our family's turn for presentations and devotion. Admittedly, I was nervous to stand up in front of the group and speak. But not necessarily because I was concerned about people judging, making a mistake, or even feeling uncomfortable speaking in front of people in general. No, what I was nervous about was creating a devotion that would be meaningful, relevant and shared in a way that conveys the magnitude, splendor and gravity of our Creator. It came to me several times throughout the week that exploring this theme of 'busy-ness' might be something worth looking at more closely. Busy-ness is something I have struggled with for quite some time, and so it felt like a fitting topic to both dive deeper into, and then share what I discovered. See, God is so good--that even when there are aspects of our lives that distract us from relentlessly pursuing Him, he does not react in anger. Instead, he is like a patient, loving parent. Gently guiding and showing us our challenges and nudging us in the direction of greater edification. Here is what I learned in that week of preparation for this devotion:
What are we busy with? Anything and everything. The endless to-do lists, appointments, the housework, driving to all the kids' activities, making time for friends and family, keeping ourselves health, exercise, careers, side hustles. You name it. As a mother and human being living in the 21st century, busy is a way of life--sometimes even glorified. Having a full social calendar is often treated like a badge of honor. Checking off endless tasks on your never-ending to-do list giving a sense of self-worth and importance. But as children of God, we are not called to find our worth and value in outward accomplishments and filled up calendars. We have inherent value because we were created by a loving God, and at the most basic element of our nature we are Love. How easy it is to forget this! But scripture tells us to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness." (Mathew 6:33) If we are so busy that we forget to connect with our Source of being, then all we do loses its effectiveness. How much harder is it to keep the peace while moving through all of these daily activities and tasks without the supernatural peace that passes understanding. Taking a moment to remember God in all that we do, is the beginning of a life well-lived. Checking in with the Holy Spirit, praying for discernment on which activity will actually serve our highest and the good of all, before springing into action--is the lesson I am learning and re-learning at the moment.
So why the busy-ness and struggle in this area? Spirit revealed in my inner being 3 contributing factors that lead me to worship a full schedule, rather than aligning myself to the will of God in my day:
Maybe I am feeling guilty about something, maybe there's a sin that hasn't been dealt with--something I know I should have given up, or should have done differently, that leads me to hide from my Maker. Maybe there's unprocessed trauma within which makes it really uncomfortable to sit in stillness. Maybe I don't feel worthy or good enough to stand in the presence of the Almighty being that breathes galaxies into being. Maybe that level of might and power and goodness just feels intimidating. Or maybe it's some variation or combination of all of these. Avoiding the stillness and presence of our Source for any of these reasons is a lie of the lower mind, or the Enemy-- which wishes to keep us in separation, need and lack.
When we feel like our prayers, intentions and will make no difference, what is the incentive to pray? What is the incentive to pray if we feel like our prayers aren't being heard or aren't effective anyway? Jumping into action without first connecting to the Source of our being is like a tree cut off from its roots.
This area was probably my biggest aha throughout the week. I jump into action, and carry so much of the burden--especially when it comes to my kids, because I am anxious for their futures. Constantly asking myself what activities should they be involved in to ensure they are set up for success in their future? If we don't do this activity or this curriculum or swim in this social circle could they be royally screwed when they grow up? This doesn't only apply to children. If we carry the anxiety of our future success and happiness on our own shoulders, the outcome just may be over-activity and burnout. But to finish that verse from Matthew..."But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." In other words, if we entrust our futures, and the future success of our children to God, knowing that He has "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11), then we have the freedom to let go of the pressure of excess activity and outward motion.
There's no doubt that activity is an aspect of life as a human. But how we choose to move through that activity, and the things we choose to do with our time make all the difference in the world. Throughout this week of self-reflection I have been reminded to "cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me (1Peter 5:7)." Whatever plans God has for me and my children will happen and He will make a way just like He always has. What a relief! So what are some of the practices that support us in carrying this awareness with us throughout our day-to-day? Some of the things that work for me:
Getting out in nature
Conversing with the Creator
Connecting with the Higher Self
(that aspect of our selves that is always at one with the Creator)
High vibe/worship music
Taking a pause
There's lists and reminders posted all over my office, in my car, in my wallet, on my bathroom mirror you get the picture. I intend to keep this list close and reflect on it often. After all, I don't have time to waste on busy-ness. Presence sounds like a much more appealing modus operandi. How will you connect with your center and keep your eyes fixed on your Creator this week?